September 1, 2014

The Most Predictable Social Media Users

With my primary blog I’ve experimented with a wide variety of social media sites. I’ve had mixed success, although overall it’s been very positive. As social media marketers, we all try to anticipate what users will respond to and cater to those interests in a way that will allow for success and fit within an overall social media marketing plan.

From my experience I have found users of Delicious to be the most predictable and consistent. Every now and then I’m pleasantly surprised that a specific post of mine takes off with a particular social media site, and usually it is StumbleUpon. To be honest, this doesn’t happen with Delicious. I don’t suddenly see a post racking up bookmarks unexpectedly.

Likewise, sometimes I’m disappointed with the results of a post with a specific social media site when I expected it to do well at SU, Digg, DZone, etc. However, rarely do I create a post expecting bookmarks only to be disappointed.

I’ve found Delicious users to be extremely consistent and predictable, which is incredibly helpful for getting to the front page. What does it take to get to the front page of a major social media site? Well, you obviously have to create something that interests a mass audience and you have to find a way to get it some exposure.

But one of the difficulties is that you never really know for sure what will cause people to respond. You may spend a lot of time creating a blog post to target Digg users, and then Digg users wind up not appreciating it like you thought they would. With a consistent audience, you can create content by following specific models that have worked for you in the past, and chances are, it will work again. Rarely do I spend significant time creating a post to target Delicious users only to see that time not being worthwhile.

When analyzing what type of content Delicious users will bookmark, think about your own habits. What do you bookmark? Most of us that use Delicious do so because of the convenience factor. We bookmark something that we think we may want to come back to later, and very often this is something that can make our lives easier or save us time in the future.

The convenience factor makes resource lists a great prospect for the Delicious front page. People bookmark resource lists because everything they need on a particular subject is right there in one location. If you can provide users with something that they know can save them time at some point in the future, you’re very likely to get a bookmark.

Resource lists aren’t the only option. At my primary blog I’ve had a lot of success with mini web design gallery posts. For these posts I’ll collect 25 – 50 websites that are excellent examples of a particular style of design. Many of my readers bookmark these posts because when they are looking for design inspiration in that particular aspect of design, they’ve already got a great resource that puts plenty of examples in one convenient place.

Of course, what will work for you will vary depending on what niche you cover with your blog. However, take into consideration what you can do to provide a valuable resources that will save time for readers.

The second part of the equation is getting exposure. You can create the most useful blog post ever, but if no one sees it, it won’t get any bookmarks. When I create a post that is intended to target Delicious, I try a few different methods to get as much traffic to that post is possible, which will increase the number of Delicious users that see the post. I heavily use smaller social media sites and community sites to funnel traffic in this way. Try a few different methods and see what works for you.

What are your thoughts?

What have you observed about the consistency and predictability of social media users?

About Steven Snell

Steven is a web designer, blogger, and freelance writer.

9 comments

  1. I haven’t managed to get any success with delicious yet, but then again I haven’t really tried yet. I will give it a shot though with my next article and see how it goes.

    I personally find most social media users to be a little fickle, but generally good content seems to do well as long as it is advertised well.

  2. Vinh,
    One piece of advice I would give you if you want to target delicious, try submitting to DZone. I’m sure some of your design content would do well at DZone and there are tons of delicious users there.

  3. Delicious is one social media site which I have failures with, the possible reason might be my failure to spot the trend that you are talking about here.

    One trend that I have found in my observations on social media sites is that resource lists (those with just links and simple explanations) will not do well with a small number as the title unless it is very unique like the Flikr resource list that you had previously came up with.

    Good job on your research in the social media field.

  4. @Steven: Thanks for the advice. I had quit on dzone a while back, because I wasn’t getting any results from it. But I will try it again. I’ll update you later and tell you how it goes.

    @Wayne: Yeah, people are getting immune to lists unless it is unique or very huge. Steven is the master at it.

  5. Wayne,
    From my experience Delicious has a more specific audience than some other sites like SU or Digg. My primary blog fits nicely into that audience, but many things don’t. For example, I don’t expect to make the front page with a post on this blog. Also, some guest posts I’ve written for other blogs have struggled with Delicious when I think it would have done well with a specific audience. If you don’t have Delicious users reading your blog you’ll have to find another way to get them, such as funneling them from another site. I had a post that got a link from LifeHacker, and they have a big audience that includes lots of Delicious users. That post of mine hit the Delicious front page as a result of that link.

  6. Unlike SU, where almost no one will actually go and search through their ‘bookmarks’, delicious users really will. So yes, they do want something of reference-quality.

    Based on the success of my Beautiful Resumes article (2400+ bookmarks on delicious) and studying the /popular pages, I came up with this:

    The Success Checklist I Used To Hit #1 on del.icio.us

  7. I guess you are right as well. Looking back at your Vandelay Blog Design alone and those post which I think had brought you success with del.icio.us, I can roughly see the trend.

    However, after I compared my vague idea with the popular items there, it confused be by not only putting me wrong that other types of niche post can be successful as well but it also proved to me that news item like those on Digg can perform well there.

    Anyway, after reading your reply, I guess where do we expose our contents play a major role as well.

    Thanks.

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